"The social Web is transforming how customers engage with business online," says Marcel Lebrun, CEO of Radian6, a social media listening and engagement platform that helps companies keep tabs on social conversations.
"Once upon a time, customer contact was centralized around the switchboard, and the phone was the preferred method for communication between companies and customers. When it rang, you answered, because it was likely a customer or a potential customer on the other end of the line. Now, the calls are coming through online, via the social phone."
Instead of picking up the telephone or even sending an e-mail, your customers are sending a tweet, posting notes to your Facebook page, or asking for help in community forums. You can't afford to ignore these calls any more than you can the ones coming in on your phone line. Simply put, your customers and prospects are reaching out, and they're expecting you to answer.
"The social Web really is changing the way we do business, fundamentally," says Lebrun. "Customers are online, talking about brands, expressing their opinions, sharing information. Businesses that want to harness all of that information to improve their business need to be paying attention, and equipped to respond."
"If someone calls your 1-800 number or sends you an e-mail, there's no question in your mind that you need to act on it," he continues. "We've adapted our organizations to respond to those kinds ...